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Obesity among youngsters is a common occurrence today, especially post-pandemic. As kids stayed at home, deprived of all kinds of physical activity, they spent their time hogging unhygienic and junk food, and didn’t pay much attention to their sleep habits.
It’s important to take obesity seriously, since it has become a threat to children, putting them at risk for a variety of chronic health disorders, including heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, gallstones, and even some malignancies, This is why it’s critical to protect your child from obesity since the negative health effects of childhood obesity can last into adulthood.
It’s essential to understand why your child is gaining weight. Some causes are common and simply treated, while others can’t be easily cured.
Eating high-calorie processed food items on a routine basis, such as fried and fatty foods, sugary beverages, and candies, can lead to weight gain.
Weight gain is caused by a lack of exercise and outdoor activities, as well as spending too much time doing sedentary activities like watching television, playing video games, or using phones constantly.
Obesity might run in the family. If your child comes from a family of overweight people, they are more likely to put on weight. However, it doesn’t mean that you cannot prevent your child from gaining weight, because certain lifestyle changes might help in preventing weight gain.
Even for youngsters, life has become a competition. Peer pressure and unrealistic expectations from parents may induce stress and anxiety. Some children may overeat in order to cope with stress and anxiety or to deal with challenges, leading to the mental state of binge-eating and putting them at the risk of becoming obese.
It is important to encourage your child to adopt a holistic lifestyle and make them aware of the effect of leading a bad lifestyle. They can be encouraged to adopt holistic eating behaviors and remain physically active. How?
* Focus on good health, not a fixed weight goal. Teach healthy and positive attitudes towards food and physical activity without an emphasis on body weight.
* Schedule daily meals and snacks, and eat as often as possible. Also, Determine what food is given and when, and let the child decide what and how much to eat. Urge them to eat regularly at mealtimes and don’t skip meals.
* Prepare homemade food at least twice a day, if you have a busy work schedule. Cook food with less salt, fat, oil, and sugar. Instead of deep-frying, use healthier cooking methods such as steaming, boiling, stir-frying, baking, and grilling.
* Involve the child in a routine of eating fruits and vegetables. Feed your baby a variety of brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables every day.
* Plan sensible portions. Use the food guide pyramid for young children as a guide. The parents’ role is also important when helping children to prevent obesity. It is said that children mirror their parents, so if you start eating healthy meals and snacks, including daily physical activity, and developing healthy habits, they will learn from you.
Developing a healthy lifestyle during childhood can help your child. Here are a few preventive strategies that might come in handy:
* Discourage them from having a meal or snack while watching TV. Eating in front of the TV can make it difficult to focus on feelings of satiety and can lead to overeating.
* Buy fewer high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. Help children understand that sweets and high-fat treats (such as candy, cookies, or cakes) are not everyday foods. However, don’t deprive kids of occasional treats. This can make them more likely to overeat.
* Get the kids involved in planning, shopping, and preparing meals. Use these activities to understand children’s food preferences, teach children about nutrition, and encourage them to try a variety of foods.
* Encourage them to participate in family activity time on a regular basis, such as walking, bike riding, hiking, and active sports. Support your children’s organized physical activities. Provide them with a safe, accessible place outside to play.
* Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity.
* Encourage your child to be more active. This can be anything from playing outside to joining a sports team.
* Child obesity is a serious problem that requires a multifaceted approach. By following the tips above, you can help prevent or treat childhood obesity and encourage your child to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.